Have you ever just been taken aback at how things play out in life? Recently I had a complete stranger come up to me and she just started talking. I had never met her or even seen her before this encounter. On this particular day I was feeling out of place and very uneasy. Lo and behold, this lady pops up.
The first few minutes she just started talking about herself and she pointed out all her flaws (although I hadn’t seen any in her). She spoke of her hair, her eyes, her teeth…she literally blurted out all of her insecurities to me. She then went on and told me about the issues she was facing in her family with her husband and her children as well as her housing situation. She was so down. All I could do in that moment was listen not to reply but just to be there. She obviously had a lot on her plate and needed someone to talk to.
Now if you know me, I love to talk. I basically don’t know how to keep quiet, my friends know that I can talk and talk and talk. With this lady, I just kept quiet and listened to her; which is quite strange on my part because I would normally try and comfort and encourage anybody who I chat too. We spoke for a while and before we went our separate ways, she told me her name and asked for mine, and told me that she hoped to see me around again. I gave her a hug goodbye and that was that.
Later that day, I was sitting on my own reflecting upon what had happened. I was still in shock that a complete stranger would tell me such personal and intimate things. But then it dawned upon me. People are broken and sometimes they just need someone to listen to them and be there for them.
I also realized that God put her on my path to help me as well. All the fears I was feeling before we started talking had gone away. Listening to this lady helped me to forget about my own struggles that I was about to face.
Another thing that dawned upon me was that, as woman, and I’m sure men do this too, we tend to point out everything that is wrong with us in the hope that other people don’t bring us down first. For example, I have a huge grey patch in the middle of my head towards the front. I have very dark brown hair so these silver streaks really stick out. Now, when I meet someone for the first time or even when I catch up with an old friend or family member, one of the first things that come out of my mouth would be me telling them that I’m getting grey and old, I would make it a joke so that I wouldn’t feel so self-conscious about it. This lady did exactly the same thing, she pointed out her eyes and told me why she thought they looked odd and why she needed glasses.
I think we are so quick to bring ourselves down and point out our flaws, but at the end of the day, it’s wrong because God made us all different. Some of us are tall, some short, some of us are skinny and some of us are plus size, some of us are grey at a young age, some of us have to wear glasses, some of us still have our mom bellies, some of us have dad bellies, some of us have moles on our faces, or scars or growths. I don’t understand why we have to point this out to people. We are who we are. We are who God created us to be. God doesn’t care about the grey hairs or mom bellies. We need to start embracing who we are and stop caring what the world thinks. God cares about our hearts, the world doesn’t. If only people could see our hearts… What if we stopped looking at the physical things and started looking at people’s kindness, compassion, humility, the way they handle situations. I wonder how different we would see others, I wonder how different we would see ourselves?
The next thing I want to point out is that this lady who came up to me was broken in so many ways, she was hurting and she just needed someone to talk to. We need to be there for these people. Can you imagine if I had just got up and walked away because I thought this was too weird? What if she was praying for someone to talk to that day? I always bring up that song from ‘For King and Country-by our love’…it says they will know we are Christians by our love.
Here is where I want to encourage you. Look out for the people who are sitting on their own. Watch out for people who look like they are hurting, I know you can’t always see it but God will show you, just be open to it. If God prompts you to go and pray for someone, don’t be stubborn or scared, just go and do it. If God prompts you to just listen, then just listen. Look out for the small things in life, that’s how God will talk to you.
There’s this one quote that has popped up everywhere for me this week… “Sometimes you will be the only bible people will ever get to read.”
I want to leave you with this, at the end of that conversation, this woman walked away with a sort of relief on her face, like a peace. That time we spent together will be with me for the rest of my life and I’m sure hers as well.